Certificate of Attendance Letters
Processing time: 2-3 business days. You will receive an email once your letters are completed.
Certificate of Attendance Letters serve as proof of the student’s immigration status at UMass. The letter can be used for visa application(s) for countries other than the United States, MA driver's license application, deferral of military services in the student’s home country, and other such requests that require proof of your status.
- Once you have submitted your E form you will receive an email of your successful submission.
- Staff will review your request. You will receive an email from our office once your request has been approved/letter has been generated.
Inviting friends or family to the U.S.
The IPO no longer provides status letters for the purpose of inviting friends and family to the U.S.
Family, relatives, and friends that plan to visit you in the U.S. will most likely need to apply for a tourist visa (B1/B2 visa). There are no specific visa sponsorship documents, e.g. I-20 or DS-2019, with which to apply for a B1/B2 visa. However, there are some guidelines on what a US Consular Official expects of applicants.
Applicants should be prepared to explain the following points and provide related documents:
- The visit to the United States will be temporary. The applicant may need to provide an Invitation Letter from you. Your invitation letter should list the purpose of the visit, i.e. to attend your Commencement, visit family, etc. Please note that the invitation is from you and not from the IPO. US Consular Officials will only acknowledge invitation letters from the actual non-immigrant who is inviting a family or friend to visit them in the U.S.
- There are adequate funds to cover the cost of transportation and living in the United States. The applicant may need to provide evidence of sufficient funds to support themselves while in the United States in the form of a bank statement. Alternatively, you may provide your current bank statement as evidence of adequate financial support to cover their temporary stay in the United States. There is also a form called an I-134 Affidavit of Support (can be accessed at www.uscis.gov/i-134), which could be completed by you and used in their visa applications. However, it is not a required document for a B1/B2 visa application.
- The visitors have residences outside the United States to which they intend to return. The Applicant will need to prove the intent to return home. This may need to be documented by evidence of a job, immediate family members who will be left behind, property, business ownership or other strong ties to their home country. Please refer to the guidance from the U.S. Department of State on what constitutes as strong ties.
Two Step Process for Family and Friends
1. Applying for a visa
For many individuals a B1/B2 visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate outside the United States is needed to enter the United States. Guidance on the non-immigrant visa application process is available on the U.S. Department of State website. Please note that Canadian citizens and citizens of Visa Waiver countries do not need to obtain visas for this purpose. Visa Waiver applicants, do however, need pre-clearance authorization called ESTA prior to traveling. They must present evidence of ESTA approval at their United States Port of Entry.
2. Entering the United States
When entering the United States, a U.S. government official at the port of entry will annotate the visitor's I-94 card (an electronic record completed prior to entry to the United States which can be accessed at cbp.gov/I94) indicating how long the visitor may remain in the United States. The length of stay that the U.S. government official grants to the visitor is discretionary, normally no longer than 6 months. Extensions may be requested at a later date from the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) through a formal process. Requests for extensions must be received at USCIS prior to the expiration date listed on the visitor’s I-94 card. There a serious consequences to anyone overstaying their legal stay in the U.S.
Additional Documents that are NOT REQUIRED, but you may include, during your degree program dates:
- A copy of your official transcript, can be requested via SPIRE. More information about how to request your official transcript can be found on the University Registrar’s Office website.
- An Enrollment Verification Letter. See the University Registrar’s Office website for more details.
Additional Documents that are NOT REQUIRED but you may include, if you are graduating:
- You may print a copy of the Academic Calendar listing the Commencement Date
Since the purpose of a tourist visa does not directly involve UMass Amherst’s visa sponsorship, the invitation letter you need should not come from the IPO. All you should need to provide your family and friends with are the above mentioned Letter of Invitation written by you, and if you choose, any of the additional documents that are listed above.